Unprompted confession: I have this unhealthy habit of gatekeeping artists I like. Whenever I discover underrated musicians who I think are really cool, I tend to keep them all to myself for as long as I can. I’ve done this so frequently to the point where my friends would playfully call me an arrogant prick. (Seriously. I’m not kidding.)
But to be fair, there were some instances when I would feel a strong urge to share my discoveries with some people, especially in my circle. One of which is the “Semilucent 3” EP released on Oct. 7. The four-track record under Paradise Rising—a Filipino-focused 88rising sublabel—features tracks from five up-and-rising Filipino acts based in North America and Australia.
“Senseless” by Kristina Alcordo
“People got too many expectations
I got tired of resisting temptation
Now I’m stuck here waiting at this station
Last train, all I see is apparitions”
Ontario-based musician Kristina Alcordo opens the mixtape with a sultry R&B track that I personally think has the potential of becoming TikTok-viral. Alcordo’s husky tone complements the coquettish nature of the song, which has seemingly drawn influences from ’90s R&B slow jams. While the lyrics show vulnerability in a subtle manner, it can still pass as something you’d listen to when you’re feeling yourself.
“Don’t Wake Me Up” by DACEY
“Now I’m gazing at the ceiling
Play our fight scene in my bedroom
I can’t sleep this ugly feeling
Did I really get to know you?”
Have you ever been in a relationship that kept you all night, thinking of ways to make it work despite its inevitable doom? That’s exactly what “Don’t Wake Me Up” by Vancouver-based duo DACEY is all about.
In contrast to the track’s laidback production, the lyrics are riddled with ire and melancholy. It depicts a failing relationship—an impending heartbreak—with muted rage, nostalgia, sadness, and regret.
“Go Back” by Cabu (feat. Gabby Nacua)
“I can’t turn back anymore
I’ve never been more sure of myself
Tell me the past is forgiven, baby?
Future is what I’ve been living for lately”
Can’t seem to let go of your past and need constant reminding to move the fuck on? I recommend you blast “Go Back” on repeat. It’s a song by Sydney-based musicians Cabu and Gabby Nacua that could pull you back whenever you feel like foolishly running back to your past. (I mean, if repeatedly singing along to “I won’t go back, I can’t go back” won’t work, I don’t know what else will.)
“Panalo” by 8rae
“My legacy is all complete
If my family gets to eat
Don’t need a plaque or a Grammy
If I can fill up all the seats in the arena”
If I were to describe Orange County singer-producer 8rae’s “Panalo” after the first listen, I would say it’s a cathartic (low-key inspiring) self-validation anthem you’d play when things get rough or when you desperately need a reason to go on. My favorite thing about this track, though, is how the soundscapes and other elements were meticulously pieced together to fit the song’s lyrical content.
ICYDK, Paradise Rising dropped this project in celebration of Filipino-American History Month. It’s the third installment of the “Semilucent” mixtape series, with the first two installments spotlighting artists such as former Scout cover personality Kiana V, Jason Dhakal, Massiah, Leila Alcasid, Manila Grey, and Curtismith.
Not gonna lie, I wanted to gatekeep these gems at first, but ultimately decided against it for one reason: They’re too damn good to be hidden. As 88rising founder Sean Miyashiro once said in an interview with Grammy: “The Philippines has such a vibrant music culture, and there are so many young talented artists who are emerging. We want to amplify this on a global scale.” And I just can’t argue with that.
Photos from Paradise Rising on Instagram